Lessons

How to Fight Corruption in a Dangerous State?

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Mexican army troops line up on a highway leading to Oaxaca City on the day of the country’s midterm elections, in response to threats by a radical teacher’s union to disrupt elections. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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UPOEG community leader and political activist Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco collects voters’ testimonies of alleged vote-buying and coercion in San Marcos, Guerrero in June. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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A polling place is set up under an awning on a muddy dirty road in Oaxaca City on the day of the country’s midterm elections, after a radical teacher’s union refused to allow polling places to be set up in schools. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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UPOEG community leader and political activist Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco speaks to voters in San Marcos, Guerrero in June. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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A polling official marks a voter’s thumb with indelible ink after he casts his ballot in the midterm elections. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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A voter near San Marcos, Guerrero tells UPOEG community leader and political activist Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco of alleged vote-buying and coercion by political parties in June. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Two female voters in Oaxaca City wait to cast their ballots in the midterm elections. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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UPOEG community leader and political activist Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco works with the local community police to collect documents of alleged vote-buying and coercion by political parties in June. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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A polling place prepares for voters in the midterm elections in Oaxaca City after a radical teacher’s union refused to allow polling places to be set up in schools. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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On the side of the road, near San Marcos, Guerrero, UPOEG community leader and political activist Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco exchanges video archives with co-workers of alleged vote-buying and coercion by political parties in June. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Sebastian Barragán Hidalgo of MéxicoLeaks demonstrates the encrypted USB technology. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Encrypted USB technology makes it possible for citizens to submit information anonymously to a website. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Stolen ballot boxes and ballots burned by radical teachers and their supporters in Oaxaca City’s main plaza on the day of the country’s midterm elections. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Radical teachers and their supporters burn stolen ballot boxes and ballots in Oaxaca City’s main plaza. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Miguel Angel Jiménez Blanco, coordinator and organizer for Unión de Pueblos y Organizaciones del Estado de Guerrero (UPOEG), uses his cellphone to record a voter’s testimony of alleged vote-buying and coercion in San Marcos, Guerrero, on June 13, 2015. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Students in Guadalajara participate in a week-long event called CampusParty aimed at improving technology expertise. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

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Women technologists and digital media experts take part in CampusNight held in Mexico City, an event aimed at improving their technology skills. Image by Kara Andrade. Mexico, 2015.

This lesson is written as a series of notes for the failitator

Educator Notes: 

This lesson is designed for an early high school classroom on a 100-minute block schedule with access to computers. As alternatives teachers may assign the articles and questions for homework or provide printed copies of the articles for the students to read in class or as homework.

Objective:

Students will analyze whether technology can increase citizens’ abilities to fight corruption when speaking out can result in jail time or death.

Warm-up:

1. Ask students to brainstorm issues they would like to see changed in their school, community, state or nation.

2. Once they have a list, ask students how they might go about trying to achieve those changes.

3. Ask students if they would be willing to take the actions they believe necessary to make the changes and if they believe there is any risk involved.

Introducing the Lesson:

Using two articles pertaining to fighting corruption in Mexico students will assess to what degree technology is helping citizens’ fight corrupt officials.

Activity:

1. First, ask students to read the short article "Mexico: Can Technology Turn the Tide Against Corruption?"

  • As a class discuss how technology can help people fight against their corrupt officials.

2. Second, ask students to read the longer article "The Life and Death of an Organizer in Guerrero, Mexico"

  • While reading students should answer:

    • How was Jimenez using technology to showcase corruption?
    • Did his use of technology keep him anonymous in his reporting of corruption? Explain.
    • What did Jimenez’s supporters do related to their use of technology after hearing of his death?
    • Do you believe technology helps people fight against their corrupt officials?

Conclusion:

As a class discuss the final question: Do you believe technology helps people fight against their corrupt officials?

Extension:

Assign students to act on their freedom to protest. Students must take a topic from their list of issues they would like to see change and they must take action either by writing a letter, posting an opinion on social media, designing digital informational flyers, etc. This will encourage students to not take for granted their relative freedom to protest and honor those in countries who do not have the ability that Americans have to vocalize opinions on change.

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